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The Civil Rights’ Paradigm Doesn’t Work for Gay America

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:34 pm - August 27, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Politics

Yesterday, I was engaging in an e-mail exchange with a reader that seems to juxtapose nicely with two recent posts.

We were discussing how so many people determine that for every social problem (as well as to meet the challenges of social change) there must be a government solution.  He offered (and I quote with his permission),

Well the problem/mentality looks back to the civil rights movement, where government was really the motor that made things happen.  The idea is to take that model and use it for women, the disabled, gays, etc.  Our challenge is to say why that’s invalid.

Exactly.  In the civil rights era, we needed government intervention because government created the problem (at the outset of the Jim Crow era in the 1890s) by creating (at the state level) and countenancing (at the federal level) laws which defined color as a class and sanctioned discriminatory treatment against blacks while mandating private discrimination.

Over the past quarter-century or so, as people like us have become more open about our sexuality, we’ve seen the private sector react swiftly to accommodate this change (something that Jim Crow laws prevented private organizations from doing in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction).  There were no laws requiring that private institutions treat people differently because of their sexual orientation.

At the same time, gay activists (and their allies in politics) have been pushing for legislation which will treat us as a protected class in state and federal law.  It’s as if that supposed lack of civil rights about which John Aravosis is so concerned is really an absence of state-sanctioned group “rights”.  That needed bureaucratic validation that Alex Knepper so deliciously mocks.

More on this anon.

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59 Comments

  1. Ummm. . .errr. . .the CHURCH was the motor of the Civil Rights Movement. Everybody in the movement came from the church community. The government was led by people of faith, you know, those silly people who believe in God as a source of social justice. The very thing Glenn Beck despises was the thing that led MLK to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial–the call of God through Scripture to bring justice to this land.

    Gays would have done well to build a foundation in the churches as a starting place for their search for justice. But they chose baths, bars, and rallies instead.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 27, 2010 @ 2:02 pm - August 27, 2010

  2. Another reason why that model is invalid is because the gay community as a whole is both much smaller and much wealthier than other minority groups. Its members do have the resources to solve most of their problems through non-governmental means, and I feel that the obsessive focus on legislation and governmental solutions is one of the biggest weaknesses of the modern gay rights movement. It should be about improving the lives of gays and lesbians through all means, not legal equality for the sake of legal equality.

    Comment by NYAlly — August 27, 2010 @ 2:48 pm - August 27, 2010

  3. “Its members do have the resources to solve most of their problems through non-governmental means…”

    NYAlly, that is right. But then again, almost everyone in America has more resources, and more ability, than they have been led to think they do. We can ALL solve most of our problems through non-governmental means.

    Ash, I agree that the Church has always been concerned about social justice. Though I agree with much of what Glenn Beck says, I think he’s wrong to concede the entire term “social justice” — as he seems to — to the Religious Left. He is giving away the baby with the bathwater.

    What the Right should be asking is not whether social justice is a biblical concept, but what it really entails. Can unjust means be used to reach just ends? How can forcibly confiscating money from people who’ve earned it, to give to those who haven’t, be considered truly “just” in anybody’s universe? Obviously, the term “social justice” has been hijacked and misused by the Religious Left.

    Instead of being simply thrown away, it must be redefined and redeemed. True social justice in a Christian context, I believe, means opening up much greater opportunity for those who have been blocked from earning their own good things in life. It must mean making sure they have the same opportunities everyone else does.

    Comment by Lori Heine — August 27, 2010 @ 3:12 pm - August 27, 2010

  4. My own take on the issue of Rights;

    Of the three major G/L issues…DADT, ENDA and SSM…only DADT is an issue of basic and fundamental civil rights since it directly goes to the heart of what it means to be a full-citizen with all the privileges and responsibilities thereof. To be excluded as a “class” from defending the community or the State is at the same basic level as not being able to vote, to fully participate as a citizen.

    ENDA is a “reinforcing restatement” of my already “pre-existing rights” to equity and due-process and to the privileges and obligations that I am due to and from my fellow citizen and the State I am due as an individual. And of the protections I am due from the State of my rights.

    SSM is a new “extension” of the social contract between fellow citizens of the community and to the protections that I am due by my fellow citizens and the State. And where I have recourse to the State to enforce that social contact and it’s privileges and obligations. But it’s not a “right” per-say, it’s a social contract. Typically the phrase “…and before this company” or “…we are gathered” is invoked to call the community attention to it’s obligation. And while it’s a social contact between two free-persons…not between those persons and the State…it is also a social contract between those two people and the community. Typically you can’t marry yourself without witnesses nor without a community sanction.

    I’m not convinced SSM is a “right” since you can’t be married as an individual…it requires two (or more) persons as a collective-entity. A collective-entity can have privileges and obligations, but not rights…just as a corporation or other collective-entity doesn’t have the right to vote or to be counted as an “person” nor any of the other rights of a citizen of the state.

    Comment by Ted B. — August 27, 2010 @ 4:18 pm - August 27, 2010

  5. Can unjust means be used to reach just ends?

    No.

    How can forcibly confiscating money from people who’ve earned it, to give to those who haven’t, be considered truly “just” in anybody’s universe?

    Lori, in a universe where people (1) seriously fear salmonella due to their basic ignorance about proper cooking and sanitation, AND (2) equally seriously believe that government protects them from salmonella (notwithstanding the thousands of cases annually under government aegis), you will find people spouting all kinds of stupid and unjust/immoral nonsense.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2010 @ 4:55 pm - August 27, 2010

  6. Here is my own take on the “Gay Rights” issues:

    Marriage — This is a personal issue so that’s why I take a Libertarian approach to it.
    Military — I agree that ‘Dont Ask/Dont Tell policy’ could be repealed after a complete review from the U.S. Military. Then U.S. Congress can debate and repeal it legislatively.

    On to the more everyday, mundane issues faced by Gay and Transgender Americans —
    How to remedy discrimination…

    Employment — I suggest two remedies: (1) There are thousands of businesses and careers across America, so its logical to search for an employer who will accept you;
    (2) Create your own small business and practice entrepreneurship.

    Education — Being bullied at school or college by students or faculty members? I suggest two remedies: (1) Send a lawsuit if there was physical violence involved; (2) Try home schooling and other schooling options to avoid public education altogether.

    Family and Housing — This is a personal subject. Buy a house from a friendly real estate. Or build your own house. I suggest adopt kids through religious institutions or private enterprises. Do you have trustworthy family members or friends who can watch over your kids? I highly doubt the Government will harass your private property. That can be basis for a lawsuit.

    Crime and Violence — Radical Islamist thugs and Illegal Alien gangsters harassing you on the streets because you are Gay or Transgender? I suggest two remedies: (1) Strengthen law enforcement; (2) Support gun rights legislation.

    Hate Speech — Is someone saying hateful statements about you that its actually causing suffering on your part? I suggest two remedies: (1) Practice interpersonal communication skills; (2) Be prepared to defend yourself if violence is involved. (This section is related to my suggestion on Crime and Violence, above).

    Comment by Totakikay — August 27, 2010 @ 4:58 pm - August 27, 2010

  7. When you “earn” money, you have used an education which was given to you, driven on highways built for you, eaten food that was inspected for you in a country which is protected from foreign invasion for you, etc. You also probably have workers who have been educated for you and who drive to work on the same roads and all that. In other words, your “earnings” come on the backs of many, many other people who have supported you. So helping all those people with their health care by paying more taxes doesn’t seem like such a sacrifice–hey, it might just be a way to say, “Thank you, America, for being a place where I can ‘earn’ so much money!”

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 27, 2010 @ 5:06 pm - August 27, 2010

  8. The very thing Glenn Beck despises was the thing that led MLK to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

    Holy crackamole! Now, I’m not accustomed to defending Beck, but are you seriously comparing ending segregation to government stealing money from one person to give it to another?

    King would not agree with you. Which is why he preached of equal opportunity and personal responsibility, not equal outcomes. And which is why Martin Luther King’s niece will be speaking at Beck’s event in support of Beck’s agenda.

    Comment by American Elephant — August 27, 2010 @ 5:57 pm - August 27, 2010

  9. In other words, your “earnings” come on the backs of many, many other people who have supported you.

    Um, Ash, I hate to break it to you, but the roads, schools, military and the rest of the government are paid for by the taxes paid by the same rich people you are arguing should be glad to pay for healthcare, not “on the backs” of the poor who pay no taxes.

    I will say this for you Ash, the fictional world you live in is very detailed and strangely immune from logic!

    Comment by American Elephant — August 27, 2010 @ 6:07 pm - August 27, 2010

  10. When you “earn” money, you have used an education which was given to you,

    Silly me. I worked for my education. I wasn’t one of those who got passed just for showing up.

    in a country which is protected from foreign invasion for you,

    Frankly I don’t see how. We’re being invaded as we speak and Chairman Obama doesn’t seem to give a good damn. Further, you have the audacity to make a schmuck on wheels out of yourself if any of us dares to complain.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 27, 2010 @ 6:31 pm - August 27, 2010

  11. In the civil rights era, we needed government intervention because government created the problem

    That’s one interpretation. I’m no historian, but I doubt that those racist laws emerged sua sponte onto an unsuspecting public. Another interpretation is that we needed government intervention to protect a minority from the tyranny of the majority. We simply reached a point in history where discrimination on the basis of race was no longer morally acceptable, and therefore something that should be given legal sanction – indeed, it should be legally discourged. I think (hope) we are reaching the same point with regard to sexual orientation. Simply put, government intervention is required because it is the right thing to do. The idea that someone can be fired from a job – yes, even a job in the private sector – because they are gay is wrong. Full stop. Just like it is wrong for someone to fire someone for being female, white or Christian.

    But I’m right there with you on a lot of other elements of your agenda, like out of control government spending and the deficit.

    Comment by BenD. — August 27, 2010 @ 7:19 pm - August 27, 2010

  12. you have used an education which was given to you

    Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt, wrong answer. I use an education that *I EARNED* and/or chose to work hard at.

    Hard work, Ash. Choosing it. What a concept, eh?

    And you aren’t morally entitled to a drop of the fruits I get from it – or more accurately, that I produce. I may choose to give you or others some; in point of fact, I often do give to others. But that’s my rightful choice. F*CK YOURSELF, LAZY PIG, if you dare consider yourself *entitled* to my labor, or its fruits. You are not.

    in a country which is protected from foreign invasion for you,

    For which I (1) give honor and thanks to the people doing the protecting, and (2) pay heavily, very heavily, in taxes.

    Neither of which you do. (I am 100% sure that I pay far more in taxes than you. As well as contributing more to charity. I would be happy to put it to the test, not by letting you see my details, but by letting a trusted third party see them.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2010 @ 7:32 pm - August 27, 2010

  13. (To be clear: I wouldn’t bet that you pay zero taxes… rather I would bet that you pay nowhere near as much as me, neither on an absolute basis, nor a percentage/”share” basis.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2010 @ 7:36 pm - August 27, 2010

  14. Ash hallucinates the Civil Rights history in #1:

    the CHURCH was the motor of the Civil Rights Movement. Everybody in the movement came from the church community.

    Not Rosa Parks. Not Megar Evers, not Linda Brown, not the Central High School kids, not Mrs. Peabody, not Dwight Eisenhower, not the Kennedy brothers, not droves of Northern college students on spring break.

    Granted, MLK and many others were the non-violent face of the civil rights movement, but those who did the “sit-ins” and were spat upon were motivated by the motor of equal rights, desegregation, equal justice and faith.

    I was there. I took the heat. I was bolstered by my faith in both God and the certainty that “truth, justice and the American way” (apologies to Superman) would prevail.

    And segregation is NOT the child of Jim Crow. There was an enormous growth between the black and white communities between 1890 and 1916. You can read the history for yourselves. Blacks fought side by side with whites in the Spanish American War. But the “Progressive” Woodrow Wilson was an heinous bigot who did enormous harm to racial unity. The Wilsonian Democrats were particularly enervated by DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Most people have no idea what caused the microburst of the KKK during the 1920’s. That is because the liberals in charge of history revision and textbooks have effectively scrubbed the whole history out of existence. What most people know about the 1920’s is that first there was Teapot Domes followed by Silent Cal and then Hoovervilles.

    Somehow, the Sears school houses, the Rockefeller medical schools, the Ford magnet for migration and social responsibility, the explosion of black colleges beyond the land grant institutions is overlooked.

    How many people know that Eisenhower begged Roosevelt to lift segregation and that Truman finally reversed Wilson? (And, please, don’t give me the blacks as cannon fodder crap unless you are equally willing to admit that Roosevelt shut down pre-war Jewish migration from Germany and approved the wholesale rounding up of Japanese Americans for incarceration in concentration camps.)

    I will never understate the power of faith and the church in the Civil Rights Movement. But it was not THE motor. The Civil Rights Movement was made up of individuals who collectively established what has weakly come to be laid off as “social justice.” Liberals today would claim some sort of moral relevancy. Of course, it was part and parcel of the Judeo-Christian ethic, but one does not have to be a card carrying tither to understand the Golden Rule. (A rule that is entirely missing in Islam.)

    I include just one link to help illustrate that people of good will did what had to be done in the pursuit of “an idea whose time had come.”

    http://www.centralhigh57.org/

    Comment by heliotrope — August 27, 2010 @ 8:17 pm - August 27, 2010

  15. I love the scare quotes, Ash, around the word “earn.” Who, exactly, died and made some “progressive” people God, that they have the right to determine who among us really earned our money and who of us merely “earned” it?

    If people cannot do their work knowing that — having played by the rules as they existed at the time they did so — they are going to be able to keep the money they believed they were earning, then our society has lost any basis for freedom, security or even the most basic harmony between people. Periodically, self-proclaimed “progressives” come along and want to retroactively change the rules, taking more from some to give to others, and putting scare quotes around the very concept of these folks having earned it.

    That is not the recipe for justice of any sort, “social” or otherwise. It is the recipe for chaos. It is mob rule. It would lead to barbarism.

    I wish you would stop and think about some of the things you post before you hit the “Say It!” button and inflict in on the rest of us.

    Comment by Lori Heine — August 27, 2010 @ 10:19 pm - August 27, 2010

  16. “Silly me. I worked for my education. I wasn’t one of those who got passed just for showing up.C: ”

    TCG: Are you sure passed? It is not all that clear from your writing skills.

    Comment by Brendan — August 27, 2010 @ 11:29 pm - August 27, 2010

  17. It’s called a lack of sleep, Brendan.

    if you dare consider yourself *entitled* to my labor, or its fruits. You are not.

    Sooo….that would be forbidden fruit then? 😀

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 28, 2010 @ 1:43 am - August 28, 2010

  18. @ #11: I love ILC!

    Comment by jwxford2 — August 28, 2010 @ 2:53 am - August 28, 2010

  19. A thought occurs:

    How come we’re supposed to reject Mehlman because of what he did or didn’t do in 2004, but we’re supposed to accept that Robert Byrd joined the Klan just so he could get elected??

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 28, 2010 @ 5:25 am - August 28, 2010

  20. The most recent approval poll indicates that Americans over whelming support President Obama and prefer democrats over republicans.

    Republican leaders such as Beck have and will demagogue every issue. The American people learn who the demagogues are and who the real leaders are. Another famous republican Joe McCarthy was a demagogue but the American people saw through the lies and fear he propagated for political gain. Americans always do the right thing giving enough time to figure out who the demagogues are.

    Serious campaigning doesn’t start till after labor day it is a long way from election day. Democrats and President Obama are going to do just fine in the midterm elections. It’s time to whip the republicans, again, like a barn mule.

    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/27/newsweek-poll-democrats-may-not-be-headed-for-midterm-bloodbath.html

    Comment by steve — August 28, 2010 @ 10:51 am - August 28, 2010

  21. Much better imitation of your standard ‘whistling past the dark’ post. Good at putting the poll out there w/o including the weighing, much as CBS recently did.

    Good misdirection, though you came really close to blowing your cover bt not outright declaring ‘republicans’ as the demagogues. You’re back in form, I’d rate this a 7.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 28, 2010 @ 12:05 pm - August 28, 2010

  22. Mr. Blatt (I actually prefer something a little more informal, would “Daniel” do?) I think there’s something to this.

    Although one can’t disregard the legal edifice of goverment instituted homobigotry such as the sodomy laws (now unconstitutional), DOMA and state consitutional amendments, etc.

    It was really at the moment that private industry began to accomodate gays and lesbians that state and federal government(s) began explicitly sanctioning government instituted bigotry.

    So it seems that the alignments are very different…a lot having to do with the fact that gays and lesbians are noe recognized in law (in positive and negative ways).

    I want to think about this model a little more though.

    Hope the dissertation is coming along smoothly.

    Comment by Chitown Kev — August 28, 2010 @ 12:45 pm - August 28, 2010

  23. Kev, I think Dan prefers the title “Super King Big Nuts!”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Maximum

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 28, 2010 @ 1:18 pm - August 28, 2010

  24. “It was really at the moment that private industry began to accomodate gays and lesbians that state and federal government(s) began explicitly sanctioning government instituted bigotry.”

    Which means that all the good little Democrat drones in the hive are instructed to…go on voting Democrat, so the feds can really crush private industry!

    That’s right, steve! Whup ’em like barn mules!

    “How come we’re supposed to reject Mehlman because of what he did or didn’t do in 2004, but we’re supposed to accept that Robert Byrd joined the Klan just so he could get elected??”

    That is indeed a very good question, TGC. Which is why our trolls will have no answer.

    Comment by Lori Heine — August 28, 2010 @ 1:28 pm - August 28, 2010

  25. Gays never had the civil rights problems blacks did. Blacks had to move from slavery to equality. Gays already had socially acceptable roles and were not being victimized. Gays had to move from calling themselves “confirmed bachelors” and “favorite uncles” to “out ‘n’ proud queers.” There was never a time when gays could not move freely in society, any society, until the last 50 years. Even the Middle East had it’s way of being gay. Any viewer of Midnight Express remembers the line “Homosexuality is one of the worst sins here, so naturally, everyone does it all the time.”

    Gays have actually moved away from civil rights, moving from a safe and acceptable way of expressing their orientation to being jerks nobody likes. I suspect that if we marched for “lifetime contracts for confirmed bachelors and their special friends,” we’d have everything we want within a year.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 28, 2010 @ 2:46 pm - August 28, 2010

  26. @Ashpenaz,

    Well, you couldn’t be out about being gay (unless you were in one of the accepted industries), that’s for damn sure, and even then, that wouldn’t have applied to everywhere.

    But I think that Oscar Wilde or Alan Turing or…hell, I’ll go here, Piers Gaveston might disagree about gays not being victimized.

    For getting to know you purposes, yes, I am probably one of those commited gay leftists most frequently seen in the usual places in the blogosphere.

    Mr. Super King Big Nuts (lol) and I do share an interest in classical antiquity, however, and on some social issues I am more of a libertarian than a liberal.

    And (as a black man) I do think that the differences between gay civil rights and black civil rights need to be more clearly delineated. There are lots of similarities and lots of differences and we do need to be very precise about what those similarities and difference are.

    Comment by Chitown Kev — August 28, 2010 @ 4:07 pm - August 28, 2010

  27. Re: #20

    Now we know why Newsweek sold for $1 and an agreement to assume their “considerable financial liabilities.”

    Comment by Wesley M. — August 28, 2010 @ 5:50 pm - August 28, 2010

  28. Walt Whitman, Thoreau, Lincoln, Tennyson, Ruskin, et. al., never had civil right problems based on their orientation.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 28, 2010 @ 8:41 pm - August 28, 2010

  29. Which Lincoln?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 29, 2010 @ 12:24 am - August 29, 2010

  30. #20: “The most recent approval poll indicates that Americans over whelming support President Obama and prefer democrats over republicans.”

    Oh, steve, you poor thing. A Newsweek poll? Really?

    The Newsweek poll you cite states that “as with all midterm elections, the president’s approval rating is considered a key factor in determining which party voters are likely to support,” and the poll puts Obama’s approval rating at 47 percent.

    Rasmussen, however, has indicated that Obama’s approval index is at an all-time low of -22 (24 percent strongly approving; 46 percent strongly disapproving), with an overall approval rating of 43 percent.

    Fordham University conducted a study of 23 polling organizations to rank their polling accuracy in the 2008 presidential election. Rasmussen was ranked FIRST out of 23. Newsweek was ranked TWENTIETH out of 23. Considering that a couple of organizations tied, Newsweek’s ranking of TWENTIETH was actually DEAD LAST.

    http://www.fordham.edu/images/academics/graduate_schools/gsas/elections_and_campaign_/poll%20accuracy%20in%20the%202008%20presidential%20election.pdf

    steve, you really need to stop kidding yourself about the November elections. The Democrats are going to be justifiably slaughtered. You may as well get a jump on creating baseless conspiracy theories about how elections were “stolen” by the GOP because we all know that’s where this is going to end up.

    Comment by Sean A — August 29, 2010 @ 8:31 am - August 29, 2010

  31. 28.Walt Whitman, Thoreau, Lincoln, Tennyson, Ruskin, et. al., never had civil right problems based on their orientation.

    Ashpenaz, I guess it depends on what you mean by civil right problems. If gays stayed hidden and used outrageously, silly euphemisms such as confirmed bachelor or favorite uncle, and accepted their inferior status, something that their straight counterparts would flatly reject to describe their status and their relationships, then there perhaps wasn’t a problem. One of the many differences between the struggles of gay and Black persons is that gay people could hide their sexuality.

    The men you listed toed the line when it came to sexuality. On the other hand, if these men were out and proud about their sexuality (and I don’t mean pride parades and rainbow flags), in the same manner that straight people were, open about their relationships as straight people were, without resorting to demeaning terms to camouflage their relationships, they would have had civil rights problems.

    Comment by Pat — August 29, 2010 @ 9:18 am - August 29, 2010

  32. if these men were out and proud about their sexuality, (…..) open about their relationships as straight people were, (…..) they would have had civil rights problems.

    We will never know.

    Pat, I took out several of the qualifiers you included, but I do not think I changed your meaning. Please respond if I did, because I do not wish to misinterpret your thoughts.

    The “euphemisms” such as confirmed bachelor and favorite uncle may well have been code. But nonetheless they also carry the tone that whatever their sexual behavior might or might not be it is their private business.

    Which brings me to the “out” part of being gay. There are lots of gays who do not need to “come out” because there is no earthly question about their status.

    I never was a fan of the “outing” of gays by others. I think it is mean spirited and the worst kind of invasion of privacy.

    Which brings me to the civil rights issue. Isn’t “outing” a gay one of the great civil rights violations?

    In my view, gays who are open about their sexuality have two great psychological challenges. First, they must always wonder what others really think of them and, second, they must always wonder if the respect they are accorded is genuine. I do not believe that either one of those issues can be answered by judges, legislation, hate crimes, social justice, hope and change, pixie dust or just plain old wishful thinking.

    Affirmative Action has visited upon blacks a serious case of self doubting. “Do I have this job because of my skin color and am I being patronized or do I have what it takes to be where I am without Affirmative Action?” More simply put, “would I be here if I were white?”

    Civil Rights is about combating de jure and de facto discrimination. However, you can never get to the point where everyone, no matter what the circumstances, is comfortable in his own shoes.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 29, 2010 @ 10:08 am - August 29, 2010

  33. @heliotrope 32: “In my view, gays who are open about their sexuality have two great psychological challenges. First, they must always wonder what others really think of them and, second, they must always wonder if the respect they are accorded is genuine.”

    I must respectfully disagree. While not of the parade marching variety, my partner and I are out and do not suffer either challenge. Not for a second. Possibly this might be because neither of us identify as being a “gay” businessman or in my partner’s case, a “gay” doctor, but instead as just people who happen to be gay. Does that make sense?

    Comment by David in N.O. — August 29, 2010 @ 11:57 am - August 29, 2010

  34. #7. How do you come to such an ridiculous conclusion? Education is an opportunity typically “provided” by the State through the collection of taxes. Those who earn less get the opportunity to get all the taxes paid annually back. The middle class and above the the “opportunity” to make up the difference between what was the “gap” left by the lower income earners. College and University education costs tuition – it isn’t given to you or me (well maybe illegal aliens in California). As for the roads “built” for me – those roads are typically constructed by workers who are members of a Union – they get Union wages that are “prevailing.” Those workers who get less or “under the table” are “used” by the company who employs them, not me. Sometimes Ash, you are so right on and other times – you need to get a real glue. In your universe, anyone who lives above the norm (however you set it), is inherently evil and made all their capital on “the backs of others.” As for insurance, I expect the individuals who are going to be “supported” by my taxes have, to some extent make poor decisions which have led to their current predicament.

    Comment by killiteten - Native Intelligence — August 29, 2010 @ 12:58 pm - August 29, 2010

  35. Walt Whitman wrote his “Calamus” poems about homosexual love–how much more out could he be? Tennyson wrote “In Memoriam” for another man–how much more out could he be? Lincoln slept in the same bed with another men and wrote him love letters–how much more out could he be? There are many pictures of cowboys and sailors dancing with each other–how much more out could they be? There are all kinds of photos of same-sex couples from the Victorian era–how much more out could they be? Gays were incredibly vocal and visible in the 1800s (just to name one era).

    Exactly how is “confirmed bachelor” suggestive of inferior status? We have at least one “confirmed bachelor” on the Supreme Court now. I think “confirmed bachelor” is much more affirming than “queer” or “slut.” I wish we’d go back to “visibility with sophistication and wit” instead of our current “visibility as a hammer.” I’d much rather people look at me and say with a knowing whisper, “Oh, he’s one of those,” rather than see someone with a rainbow flag above their desk, a pink sticker on their folders, and pictures of themselves with their arms around Adam Lambert in their wallet and say out loud, “Oh, God, not one of THOSE!”

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 29, 2010 @ 3:18 pm - August 29, 2010

  36. We will never know.

    Pat, I took out several of the qualifiers you included, but I do not think I changed your meaning. Please respond if I did, because I do not wish to misinterpret your thoughts.

    Heliotrope, that is the gist of what I was saying. And no, we would never know for sure. All I can tell you is that in the past 40 years, that all too often, young adults who have come out to their families and peers, have been met with scorn, hostility, and even violence. I find it hard to believe that this would not have been the case over 50 years ago. On the other hand, the percentage of gay persons experiencing the negative effects of coming out has decreased, despite the pride parades and rainbow flags, which Ashpenaz has claimed has caused people to respond negatively to those coming out.

    The “euphemisms” such as confirmed bachelor and favorite uncle may well have been code. But nonetheless they also carry the tone that whatever their sexual behavior might or might not be it is their private business.

    That may well be. But straight people who married didn’t use code to describe their marriages. In fact, they usually married in public in front of family and friends, and refer to their wives (or husbands) as wives. If another term of endearment is used, it wasn’t code, as anyone would know exactly what was meant. So, it is pretty open for the straight person what his sexual behavior was.

    Which brings me to the “out” part of being gay. There are lots of gays who do not need to “come out” because there is no earthly question about their status.

    Today, that appears to be true in many cases, but not all. But not in the past. You had people like Liberace and Paul Lynde who were pretty good with code, but were still assumed to be straight by others who would be uncomfortable or hostile if they read between the lines and figured out they were gay.

    I never was a fan of the “outing” of gays by others. I think it is mean spirited and the worst kind of invasion of privacy.

    I used to be in the cases in which a person was so outrightly homophobic in their speech and/or legislation they pushed during the day, but sought sex with men at night. But I no longer support outing in those cases anymore.

    Which brings me to the civil rights issue. Isn’t “outing” a gay one of the great civil rights violations?

    I don’t know. There are always reports on politicians and celebrities of who they are having sex with, even when their intent of it is being private. So if a reporter sees a homophobic politician entering a gay bar, or calling “escort” services and reports it, is that a civil rights violation? When John Kerry, who was supposedly an environmentalist, was reported to own three SUVs, was that a civil rights violation? Or is that different? I don’t know.

    In my view, gays who are open about their sexuality have two great psychological challenges. First, they must always wonder what others really think of them and, second, they must always wonder if the respect they are accorded is genuine.

    In my case, that was certainly true, even though most of the time, fortunately, it was unfounded.

    I do not believe that either one of those issues can be answered by judges, legislation, hate crimes, social justice, hope and change, pixie dust or just plain old wishful thinking.

    Agreed, but it does get the ball rolling. It does start to challenge notions that slavery is okay, or that homosexuality is a sin. This is one of the areas where Black and gay rights are similar. It took some generations to finally get people off the notion that slavery (and segregation) was somehow okay. We see similar things happening with gay rights. We’re still in the middle, as we do see people with changing attitudes, but we still also see people who grew up their whole life believing that homosexuality is a sin, or some other negative thing, and can’t or won’t shake it, and still try to justify it. That’s part of human nature, I suppose.

    Civil Rights is about combating de jure and de facto discrimination. However, you can never get to the point where everyone, no matter what the circumstances, is comfortable in his own shoes.

    True. I guess the question is, is how to you have the notion of freedom, liberty, and equality of opportunity for all, and actually apply it, when even the people who claim to espouse it, try to block it from others?

    Comment by Pat — August 30, 2010 @ 7:28 am - August 30, 2010

  37. Gays were incredibly vocal and visible in the 1800s (just to name one era).

    Ashpenaz, the “visibility” you described in your examples is akin to a dense fog.

    Exactly how is “confirmed bachelor” suggestive of inferior status? We have at least one “confirmed bachelor” on the Supreme Court now. I think “confirmed bachelor” is much more affirming than “queer” or “slut.” I wish we’d go back to “visibility with sophistication and wit” instead of our current “visibility as a hammer.” I’d much rather people look at me and say with a knowing whisper, “Oh, he’s one of those,” rather than see someone with a rainbow flag above their desk, a pink sticker on their folders, and pictures of themselves with their arms around Adam Lambert in their wallet and say out loud, “Oh, God, not one of THOSE!”

    The Supreme Court Justice(s) you refer to, may indeed have no problem with the term “confirmed bachelor.” I even have a problem with it as a code word. What if a person is in a committed relationship, like I am. I find it demeaning when I’m referred to as a bachelor. Even when I was single, I wasn’t “confirmed” as a bachelor.

    As to rest of the paragraph, all I can say is we don’t live in a world of extremes where a gay person has to 1) live by silly code words or 2) be the poster boy for the sluttiest elements of gay pride and rainbow flags.

    Comment by Pat — August 30, 2010 @ 7:36 am - August 30, 2010

  38. #33 David in N.O.:

    Good on you. I do not think anyone has to have psychological problems by default. If you have chosen to take the high road and just be humans rather than “gay” humans, you are leagues ahead of the gay liberals and liberals in general.

    Same thing applies to blacks. You either stand up and walk forward or you lean on crutches you really don’t need.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 30, 2010 @ 9:42 am - August 30, 2010

  39. Guys, this is (was?) a good discussion.

    The only thing I’d like to add is that i think that it is a good thing to limn out exactly what is a “civil right” and what does it mean to be “out.”

    As far as civil rights is concerned, being the classics nut that I am, I have to use word origins…and go back to the Roman concept of “civitas”

    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Civitas.html

    I must admit that I just found this fascinating breakdown of the different classifications of “civitas” by a google search.

    Comment by Chitown Kev — August 30, 2010 @ 10:19 am - August 30, 2010

  40. Oops, the HTML didn’t take, but still, you can look it up.

    Comment by Chitown Kev — August 30, 2010 @ 10:20 am - August 30, 2010

  41. David in N.O.
    I had that moment of clarity when I heard a person in the D/s lifestyle describe us as “not kinky people. People, who are kinky.” I think that’s what you’re describing, beign gay is part of who you are, not your whole definition. I hope that makes sense.

    Pat,

    “All I can tell you is that in the past 40 years, that all too often, young adults who have come out to their families and peers, have been met with scorn, hostility, and even violence. I find it hard to believe that this would not have been the case over 50 years ago.”

    Unfortunately this won’t go away, no matter how much the stigma of being gay is addressed. People get met with ‘scorn, hostility, and even violence’ for changing religions, marrying above/below their class, etc. Heck, take the (fictional) Montagues and Capulets and extend it to the Hatfields and McCoys. It is human nature to distrust the ‘other’. All we can do is hope that society will change so people can see that their worth is not defined by others.

    The code thing is interesting. When at work and dealing with retirees, I talk about my ‘mom and aunt’, since it’s easier to relate to a 70 year old woman than ‘my mom and her partner’.

    And really? People thought Paul Lynn was straight? Who?

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 30, 2010 @ 10:30 am - August 30, 2010

  42. What you have, Pat, is a “Boston marriage.” It was a very real, very accepted form of being in relationship. How much more out could Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas be?

    People should read Quentin Crisp on the issue of being out and being in relationship. He leaped over the liberal morass and is now where many mainstream gays are heading.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 30, 2010 @ 10:32 am - August 30, 2010

  43. Pat:

    All I can tell you is that in the past 40 years, that all too often, young adults who have come out to their families and peers, have been met with scorn, hostility, and even violence.

    This makes me uncomfortably suspicious. I do not have a huge circle of gay friends and confidants with whom I sit around and have pity parties. So, I do not have anecdotal evidence to form an opinion. Furthermore, I wonder who did the stats on accumulating the data about scorned, hated and abused gays. I wonder if there is a certain level of urban myth at play here.

    It occurs to me that a gay blog is a pretty good place for people to get a sense of how much scorn, hostility and even violence has been and is being visited on gays. Perhaps there is a blog where troubled gays can go for guidance and support.

    If there is anyone who never knew Liberace and Paul Lynde were gay I would like to meet him. Both men were extremely talented and needed no code. Granted, Liberace tried to go straight with Sonja Henie but that was more of a career move than anything else. I think Rock Hudson might have been your better example. I doubt he would have had all those Doris Day movie roles if he had been more like Liberace or Paul Lynde. You could also recall Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester or Raymond Burr. But the star system of old Hollywood is hardly the Rorschach Test for the societal norm.

    Agreed, but it does get the ball rolling. It does start to challenge notions that slavery is okay, or that homosexuality is a sin. This is one of the areas where Black and gay rights are similar.

    Black Americans were not committed to slavery as a matter of sin. Some black Americans owned slaves. Some slaves were so white, they had to identify themselves as slaves. In my slave owning town, one of the great boarding houses was owned and run by a black woman who had never been a slave. There was an active non slave black community which employed the Hessian troops who were marched here as POW’s after the Battle of Saratoga in the Revolutionary War. We still have old churches around where free blacks and whites entered through one door and sat together and slaves went through a second door that opened to steps going to the loft.

    Slaves ran businesses and were rented out to build houses, run hotels, shoe horses, etc. There was a sin connected to keeping a slave, but I know of no sin for being a slave or being black.

    There are things you “want” as a gay that you conflate with a civil right. You want all people to accept one man and one man or one woman and one woman. In order to achieve that want, you ask for a sea change in the traditional meaning of marriage. You want to be called married. You want to see one man married to one man as so normal that no one bats an eye.

    Here you might have a case with black people. As the white mother takes her children (but not in the company of their black father) out in public, people can not help but notice that they have a black father. In that respect, as one man married to one man go into a restaurant and the husband asks for a table for my “husband” or “wife” and me, undoubtedly, some teeny bopper wait person is going to roll his/her eyes. Whatever.

    In fact, that is about all I have to give: “Whatever.” Which brings me to whether “social justice” and the force of government should make the Judeo-Christian religion(s) get rid of homosexuality as a sin. Why, oh, why do you care? If there is a God and if He has a Heaven or Hell package for the afterlife (if there is an afterlife) and if homosexuals are going to Hell, then the homosexual has a problem. Now, if the United Nations rules that God cannot send homosexuals to Hell, then I guess God will just have to suck lemon drops or something. Right?

    Do you really have the notion that you can redefine sin?

    Honestly, I can not understand why gays do not form a gay liberation theology and go full bore into the religion business.

    If you have let the psychology of being gay get hold of your ego, I would suggest you have a better chance of getting in touch with yourself rather than embark on remaking society.

    No feeling are meant to be hurt in these comments. I am just being frank.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 30, 2010 @ 10:40 am - August 30, 2010

  44. @Ashpaenz

    Yeah, but how many people outside of the literate classes actually read Gertrude Stein.

    And would Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas have had the degree of acceptance that they did have had they not lived in Paris as opposed to New York or even London?

    Comment by Chitown Kev — August 30, 2010 @ 11:51 am - August 30, 2010

  45. My grammar is awful this morning.

    REWIND

    Yeah, but how many people outside of the literate classes actually read Gertrude Stein?

    And would Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas have had the degree of acceptance that they did have had they lived IN New York or London as opposed to Paris?

    Comment by Chitown Kev — August 30, 2010 @ 11:54 am - August 30, 2010

  46. Here in the West, in Wyoming in particular, Boston marriages were common and visible. That’s one of the reasons Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote. My great-aunt, who never married, homesteaded a ranch and adopted two children. She didn’t have a partner in this case, but her “offbeat” lifestyle didn’t cause problems for anyone.

    It’s only in the gay myth that you have to run away from home and go to the big city to find acceptance.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 30, 2010 @ 4:11 pm - August 30, 2010

  47. Unfortunately this won’t go away, no matter how much the stigma of being gay is addressed. People get met with ’scorn, hostility, and even violence’ for changing religions, marrying above/below their class, etc.

    Livewire, I don’t expect the scorn to fully go away either. But I do expect and predict in time, that a person who lets his family or peers know he is gay and/or introduces his beau, that any scorn will not simply focus on the homosexuality aspect, at least to a much lesser degree.

    And really? People thought Paul Lynn was straight? Who?

    Livewire and heliotrope, all I can tell you is that, while growing up, I knew people who were somewhat hostile about homosexuality. However, most of these same people didn’t have a negative word about Paul Lynde or Liberace. Perhaps it’s as Ashpenaz suggested. Using code, people who didn’t have a problem with others’ sexuality caught it. Those who had a problem were able to maneuver with the double entendres. Me personally? I was pretty naive growing up, so it never occurred to me that either was homosexual. Eccentric (another code word) perhaps, but that’s about it.

    Comment by Pat — August 30, 2010 @ 4:56 pm - August 30, 2010

  48. This makes me uncomfortably suspicious. I do not have a huge circle of gay friends and confidants with whom I sit around and have pity parties. So, I do not have anecdotal evidence to form an opinion. Furthermore, I wonder who did the stats on accumulating the data about scorned, hated and abused gays. I wonder if there is a certain level of urban myth at play here.

    Heliotrope, sure, I only have anecdotal evidence, and what you hear in the news. How many times have we heard kids being called f&ggot or other names, and otherwise bullied simply for being gay, or being perceived gay. Thankfully, it’s better now. I know a couple of people who were thrown out their house when they came out to their parents. In time, things got better, but in most cases, at least one of the parents will not acknowledge a partner, and refuse to be with them in the same room.

    It’s not about pity parties at this point. What happened happened, and you move on, and deal with any remaining negative effects. To me, it’s more about improving the situation for future generations.

    Which brings me to whether “social justice” and the force of government should make the Judeo-Christian religion(s) get rid of homosexuality as a sin. Why, oh, why do you care?

    Obviously, government cannot do that. Why do I care? I don’t think I care more than any other issue. On this blog we, for example, debate economic policies. There are strong opinions on all sides, with people trying to convince others that they are right. That’s all I’m doing here. If I can’t convince someone that homosexuality is a sin, it’s no worse than me not being able convince someone on some economic issue.

    If there is a God and if He has a Heaven or Hell package for the afterlife (if there is an afterlife) and if homosexuals are going to Hell, then the homosexual has a problem.

    Obviously that’s true. So the question is, does God, in fact, find homosexuality as a sin? I contend that there is absolutely no way of knowing. Just like there is no way of knowing that if all of us who participate on this blog is going to Hell, because God may find such participation as sinful, even for straight persons. The best we can do is to think seriously for ourselves and decide.

    Do you really have the notion that you can redefine sin?

    Don’t want this to get even more off-track and get into deeper theology, but the answer is yes.

    To be clear, I suppose God has already decided for an eternity what is and isn’t sin, so I suppose that is not going to change. (So perhaps the real answer is no).

    But, in practical terms, what has happened, is that man itself, has tried to figure out, perhaps the best of our ability, what sin is. And that has indeed changed during time. And different religions have different notions of sin, abominations, etc. For example, it was a sin (or an abomination?) to eat pork and shellfish, according to the Bible. And there are many other tidbits of things that were bad. For Christians today, they aren’t anymore. Yes, for Jewish persons who follow the Bible more strictly, such as Orthodox Jews, it is a sin. Now I’ve heard the argument that the New Testament threw out these “minor” things out as sin, (except, for some reason, the homosexuality thing). Regardless, the notion of sin has changed in those instances. For more recent examples, (and maybe sin isn’t the right word), but it was not a good thing to believe that the Earth went around the Sun. That obviously changed, since we don’t have the Pope or other religious leaders imprisoning people for such beliefs. In other words, religion, like anything else, changes, and sees things differently, including sin. So the question here is, should one regard homosexuality as a sin? Well, that’s up to the individual. I would simply argue, that at the very least, to not simply take religious dogma and blindly agree with it. Anyway, that’s my opinion.

    No feeling are meant to be hurt in these comments. I am just being frank.

    No feelings hurt here. No offense taken. Same for my comments.

    Comment by Pat — August 30, 2010 @ 5:27 pm - August 30, 2010

  49. 42.What you have, Pat, is a “Boston marriage.” It was a very real, very accepted form of being in relationship. How much more out could Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas be?

    Ashpenaz, well, at least this code phrase actually uses the word marriage. I am not as familar with Stein and Toklas, so I’ll yield to you about this. All I know is that same sex couplings in the past were not given the same meaning and openness as a typical opposite sex marriage. And I suspect this was done as to not offend others’ sensibilities, and to avoid harassment.

    People should read Quentin Crisp on the issue of being out and being in relationship. He leaped over the liberal morass and is now where many mainstream gays are heading.

    One area in which I will agree with you is that many gay persons do shoot themselves in the foot at times. I do think that honesty and openness has served gay people well (especially those who don’t let themselves go to extremes). I like the fact that I don’t have to disguise my sexuality and my relationship with codes and pronoun games.

    Comment by Pat — August 30, 2010 @ 5:35 pm - August 30, 2010

  50. ummmmmm…….where exactly do you get the whole “treat us as protected class” stuff? The whole point is to assure that laws are applied equally across the board to all citizens. History has shown that even though the law should be blind to a variety of differences; laws must still be enacted to enforce these common ideas: the 14th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, The Civil rights act of 1964, etc. All of these have been needed to codify what should have been accepted all along, but for the times they occured, the were/are needed.

    Comment by Kevin — August 30, 2010 @ 9:58 pm - August 30, 2010

  51. And yet Kevin…

    You can marry any one (1) other person of your choice, subject to the conditions of the state just like every other single person. How is that discriminatory?

    You have all the same rights and restrictions that I do. Funny how that works.

    Same old whine now with more cheese.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 31, 2010 @ 6:47 am - August 31, 2010

  52. Pat,

    Even as a kid growing up in SE Ohio (put the banjos down, boys) watching bewitched, I knew there was something ‘off’ about Paul Lynd. Didn’t bother me, since I laughed at the over the top camp. Hollywood squares just confirmed it.

    Amusing thing though. Diamonds are Forever was my favourite Bond movie (I blame Jill St. John for my facination with redheads, and she’s still hot!) but I never made the connection between Wendt and Kidd until much later in life.

    I wasn’t completely naieve though. I got the joke behind ‘Pleanty O’Tool’ 😉

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 31, 2010 @ 6:51 am - August 31, 2010

  53. Livewire, when I look back now, on looking at reruns of Hollywood Squares, I don’t know how I could have missed it.

    You can marry any one (1) other person of your choice, subject to the conditions of the state just like every other single person. How is that discriminatory?

    In your response to Kevin, there is no discrimination. But look at it this way, Any woman can marry me. But my partner cannot, because he is a man. So the question is such discrimination (or whatever the correct term is) is warranted? To be answered by legislatures, the people, or the courts if it can be found, invented, or whatever, in the Constitution that preventing same sex marriage is unconstitutional.

    Comment by Pat — August 31, 2010 @ 4:42 pm - August 31, 2010

  54. Any woman can marry me. But my partner cannot, because he is a man. So the question is such discrimination (or whatever the correct term is) is warranted?

    Yes.

    What is your compelling argument? How does your compelling argument outweigh the compelling argument which the fifteen hundred years of Islamic plural marriage presents?

    Pat, the Constitution is silent on marriage. The only “reference” is to the “full faith and credit” of records between the states. Of course, the 14th Amendment brings the equal protection of the laws to all citizens and there are implications of marriage there.

    However, seven year old citizens can not marry. Nor can siblings. That is certainly legal discrimination. When we set out to upset the 2000 years of Judeo-Christian order in marriage, how do we know which traditions to save and which need to be upended?

    Comment by heliotrope — August 31, 2010 @ 5:37 pm - August 31, 2010

  55. Heliotrope, the problem that I have with pologamy in the current Islamic and past Christian traditions is that these marriages are not equal partnerships. We can talk about partnerships with 3 or more, where all are considered equal, where all relate to each other in an equal manner. Then such advocates can make their case why 3 or more is better than 2. Personally, I believe that would be a major change to marriage, more so than same sex, even though polygamy (in the tradional form) was accepted as marriage in the past.

    The Judeo-Christian tradtion of marriage of 2000 or 5000 years has been upended many times. I suspect you and your wife are enjoying the fruits of these radical changes. I don’t see changing the gender requirement as drastic as some of the other changes that have occurred.

    My view is that homosexual relationships between consenting adults and non-incestuous are as legimate as heterosexual relationships. And just as we support and encourage straight persons to marry, regardless of their ability or interest of procreating, we should do the same for gay persons.

    On the other hand, the same is not true for relationships inolving children or close relatives. (We agree here, right?). In fact, I favor raising the marriage age to 18 in all states. Parents giving permission for their underage children to marry does not instill any confidence in the marriage involving a child.

    Now, if one views homosexuality as a sin or inferior, I can understand opposition to same sex marriage. Since total acceptance isn’t here, we go through the various government processes as is happening now. I do prefer the legislative route, but the use of the courts is a reality. I am far from a constitutional expert, so I can’t dispute your analysis. But the courts have been used in ways in which constitutional experts on all sides would say have been inconsistent with the intent of the Constitution.

    Comment by Pat — August 31, 2010 @ 7:02 pm - August 31, 2010

  56. Damn, thought i posted a reply to this, I’ll try again now with less of a head cold!

    Pat,

    The law for marriage is as ‘fair’ as the law is required to be. It applies to all individuals equally.

    One of my favourite rhetorical flourishes is to use the sinister argument. I’m left handed. Society, from mouse positioning, to scissors, to driving, to the new iPhone, is designed against me. While some things (Windows, for example does have the software option to reverse mouse buttons) are built to be omni directional, others (like driving) aren’t.

    Now I could faux protest that driving is inherently more lethal for me than for a right handed person (lefties, because our left side is stronger, are more prone to jerk the wheel into oncoming traffic) or point out the discrimination we’ve faced over the centuries. (Sinister means from the left, broken lefties, sword fighting, banisters, etc.) But I don’t. Even if I was so inclined, the correct way to change an institution (like road safety) is through the legislature. I have access to all the institutions of the right-handed. Whether I feel they’re ‘fair’ or not. I’ve adapted to use the mouse right handed, I hug the right side of the road, etc.

    Likewise, you have access to the same protections and rights as any other single person. Just as I have to obey the laws and drive on the right side of the road (even though the left side would be safer) you have to obey the laws to have the privlege of having the state recognize your partnership. Sucks? Maybe. Fair? Yes.

    When people (and Levi) try to make the argument that the courts are the ones who carved out civil rights, they’re wrong. The 14th ammendment, the civil rights laws, were all passed on majority rule. The courts’ proper place in the structure of things was to handle the challenges of making sure lower laws complied with the higher laws, even when people felt that higher laws were ‘wrong’.

    Here it is the same thing. Loving said that since marriage is between a man and a woman, you can’t disqualify ‘man’ and ‘woman’ from marrying, by putting up barriers to race. This wasn’t changing the institution, it was the court saying the higher law (14th ammendment) trumped the lower law (Virginia’s). The states can say “You have to be X years old to be married,” Because that X is across the board, black/white male/female. X years old doesn’t discriminate since everyone will be X or X+1 years old at some point.

    To change the institution of marriage, to make it so it is no longer ‘one man and one woman’ is something that must be the purview of the legislature for that reason. Courts are not the agents of social change, the people are. And the people have agreed to let the courts mediate the written law.

    Wow, that was longer than I intended.

    Comment by The_Livewire — September 1, 2010 @ 7:06 am - September 1, 2010

  57. Livewire, I see what you are saying, and agree with most of it. In particular, the laws of marriage, as stated, are applied equally, as you put it. Both straight persons and gay persons can marry a person of the opposite sex with all the other usual restrictions. But where we disagree is, is it fair and/or just?

    Your example makes the point of something that is applied equally. Everybody, right-handed and left-handed persons, has the same opportunity to purchase products that favor right-handed persons. But as you suggest, this is no great comfort to you. Sure, you deal with it, and I’m sure you deal with it well. But in some cases, left-handed products, such as scissors and mice, are available. There is no reason why these left-handed products should be forbidden. This is what I see happening with same sex marriage. I don’t see any compelling reason why it should be not be recognized as opposite sex marriage. Obviously, you and others disagree. So now it’s up to the people, legislatures, and the courts to decide.

    I favor the legislature route. But, as I said before, courts acting where they shouldn’t, is a reality. But either way, we are going to need a critical mass of people to approve same sex marriage in order for it to be a reality. Even if your analysis is wrong, and that somehow, the Constitution (with the 14th Amendment) forbids opposition to same sex marriage, the point is moot until enough people decide to enforce it. If the Constitution cannot be applied to same sex marriage, well, judges may say otherwise. Even though there will be just opposition to judicial opposition, any such decision would not stand unless there were enough people to support same sex marriage. We’ll see what happens.

    Comment by Pat — September 1, 2010 @ 11:54 am - September 1, 2010

  58. Pat,

    I’ll admit, the prime reasons I oppose SSM, is the implimentation through Judicial fiat, and the changing of the term ‘marriage’ in the Western Civ sense. I’ve commented elsewhere that while I’d prefer New Hampshire had implimented ‘Fred’. I’ll accept the result of their leglisature. Just as the reality is that judges do overreach, and are not slapped down by removal from the bench, legislatures do not do their jobs and always reflect the will of their constituants. It should also be impossible to shift forwards through the courts. The court can look at a law, compare it to the higher law, and say “It complies, it doesn’t comply, or the higher law is silent.” When the judge says “Societal change has rendered the law obsolete” he’s overstepping his boundry. He judges the text of the law, not ‘social norms’

    That’s in and of itself a feature, not a bug of represenative government, btw. It should be hard to shift the gears of power through legislation, but that requries an awake, aware, and most importantly active populace. That’s the fear of the governing class, I think, when it comes to the tea parties. It’s not “They oppose what we do.” It’s “Oh $#!%, they know what we’re doing!”

    The kind of blood letting we’re going to see in 2010, like in 1994 and yes, 2006, should be happening more often. There should be a high turnover.

    Instead, we get retired Supreme Court Justices who are arguing that judges should not face removal in reaction to their decisions.

    To continue my own analogy as a leftie, yes I can buy a left handed mouse (extra, since the default is right handed), left handed scissors, etc. I can’t buy a left handed feedback HOTAS (I’ve looked) and I can’t drive on the safer side of the road. Likewise, a gay man can set up living wills and POAs and other legal constructs, but they can’t take their boyfriend and enter the institution of marriage.

    Now in the free market, a company might find there’s a demand for a left handed feedback HOTAS and make them. In a free people, the people may decide to create/expand a legal recognition to SSM. People like me, who support ‘Fred’, and people like Seena-anna who opposes just about anything gay, can lobby against it, etc. But, in being part of that free society, we agree to accept the law as written, even if we’re trying to change the law. You’re not required to buy my leftie-HOTAS, I’m not required to applaud you marriage, but we both accept they exist. (or not as the case may be)

    Comment by The_Livewire — September 1, 2010 @ 12:34 pm - September 1, 2010

  59. Livewire, all good points, but since this post is getting to the bottom of the page, I’ll try to wind this down.

    It’s unfortunate that there are things that render inconvenience for someone, such as left-handedness. And sometimes we have to take extra steps or whatever, that other people take for granted. In many cases, a remedy to equalize things is impossible or impractical. That’s not the case with same sex marriage. Obviously, the debate is should it happen. Or should we just have “Fred.” Or watered down DPs or nothing.

    With regard to the judiciary, that’s tougher. How can a legislature decide that a judge overstepped his/her bounds? Why would we need a judiciary? But even if it was possible and even feasible for a legislature to review judicial decisions in a constitutionally correct manner, it seems that we have a tradition of giving judges the last word, accepting it, and moving on. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    Comment by Pat — September 1, 2010 @ 4:48 pm - September 1, 2010

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